We decided to cross into Baja via Tecate this year. The previous two years, we crossed in Mexicali, but came back up through Tecate last year and decided since we weren’t going down Hwy 5 after seeing reports of massive storm damage, in addition to the who the heck knows when it will ever be finished section that connects to Hwy 1, we would opt for Tecate and spend some more time in the Mexico wine country of Valle de Guadalupe. We had already secured our 180-day FMM tourist cards in Algodones before getting our teeth cleaned. The day before our planned RV crossing, we walked across in Tecate to scout the RV friendly route, get a Telcel sim for my phone, and of course, have some tacos.
Tecate turned out to be a pretty easy crossing. The Telcel sim was easy enough to buy at the Mexican convenience store OXXO, but activating it got lost in translation so we ended up finding a Telcel store at a local mall that could help us activate in English. We also visited the Tecate brewery and they gave us a free beer.
The pay-as-you-go phone plan from Telcel is a real bargain compared to the US. For less than $8 a month you get unlimited talk and text, 2 GB of data, and unlimited use of social media apps including Facebook and Instagram. There are large stretches of no cell service in Baja so we are thankful to have our Garmin Explorer 2-way satellite communicator and GPS.
We stayed at our Thousand Trails Pio Pico campground and had an easy border crossing with a short 61 mile drive to Valle de Guadalupe. Here’s a quick video of the crossing and trip down Highway 3.
We had the GoPro on to record the drive and also have proof that we didn’t break any traffic laws as the Tecate police are known to prey on gringos seeking bribes to get out of traffic tickets. Thankfully we didn’t get stopped.
Thinking about RVing in Baja? Check out the “Traveler’s Guide to Camping Mexico’s Baja” on Amazon (affiliate link).